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What Is Your Differential Diagnosis?

In medical school and residencies, doctors are taught to listen to a patient’s symptoms, examine the person and then develop a list of potential diagnoses, otherwise known as a “differential diagnosis”.  Once the DD is generated, you then set out to order what lab, radiology and other testing should be done to identify the exact diagnosis and eliminate those diseases on the DD that are not present.  Once the exact diagnosis is made, the treatment strategy is then enacted that is the best one to treat the illness.

Sometimes diagnosing illnesses are quite easy:  A person presents with increase in thirst, more frequent urination, blurred vision and a sugary smell to the urine:  A simple finger prick glucose test or urine analysis will most likely show diabetes mellitus.  However, at times, diagnosing is not easy, as in the case of a patient that presents with chronic fatigue.   The DD in this case can range from anemia to low thyroid to depression to sleep apnea etc etc.  Often, many tests must be run to pinpoint the diagnosis and even when these tests are completed, there still not be a definitive diagnosis made.

Let’s turn our attention to the weight control arena.  Most people that are overweight/obese have struggles with weight control for many years.  Why is this the case?  For everyone, the reason(s) may be different.  Some people have intercurrent illnesses or are taking medications that may hinder weight control efforts.  Other people may be suffering from depression or other mood disorders that do not allow for focus on weight control.  For some, work related issues, stress or other factors may play a role in derailing weight loss efforts.

Introspective analysis time:  What is YOUR differential diagnosis as to why you are struggling with weight control?  Take some time to sit down with a pen/paper and jot down the potential reasons why you are not able to stay steadfast in your weight loss journey.  Are you being derailed by others?  Are you having lots of cravings for carbs?  Are you hindered physically from exercising? 

Once you identify your “DD”, then plot a course as to how to address these issues and move forward to enacting the changes needed to get these “diagnoses” eliminated.  The “formula” for weight control is simple to understand:  High protein/high vegetable-low carb/low fruit/low fat/low alcohol intake.  It is not simple to follow this strategy and your DD will tell you why and what can be done to “fix” these.

Losing weight and keeping that weight off are not easy.  Knowing your DD will help you make this a bit easier.

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